With demand for Tesla’s Powerwall ‘very strong’ in Australia, Gigafactory construction accelerated

Demand in Australia for the battery storage products of US electric vehicle developer Tesla has been described as “very strong” by the company, ahead of the arrival here of the Powerwall in the next month or two.

In its latest quarterly update, the company said it would accelerate its battery cell production at its new “gigafactory” – a battery storage manufacturing plant in Nevada – and says it does not expect to be beaten on price.

Australia has been chosen as one of the first countries for the Tesla Energy “Powerwall” product, a 7kWh lithium-ion battery storage system, because of its excellent solar resources, high electricity prices, and the tariff structure for consumers.

“We are seeing very strong demand for Tesla Energy products globally, and particularly in Australia, Germany and South Africa,” founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

“To respond to these opportunities, we are growing our worldwide Tesla Energy sales team and are continuing to sign new business partnerships with utilities and energy companies.”

The strong response to the Tesla Powerwall in Australia is no surprise, given the big shifts in tariffs by Australian network operators, particularly the move to lift fixed network tariffs, introduce “demand tariffs” that they admit will make solar PV less attractive without storage, and by paying little for exports.

Solar installers report strong interest from customers at both the household and the commercial level, with installations starting to increase. Some predict they will be installing “at least ten a week” within a few months.

Musk said Tesla had already “sold” all its planned production for battery storage in 2016. “If you were to take even a small fraction of the number of people that have placed orders … we would be sold out of all of 2016 production, I mean, well into 2017,” he said.
“So it’s really mostly about predicting our production rate, and we expect very dramatic increases in the stationary storage production.”

Musk said apart from its key target markets in Australia, Germany and South Africa, there were also emerging opportunities in India and in Hawaii.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson